Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Nike Bowerman TC's Courtney Frerichs, Emily Infeld, and Evan Jager headline Husky Classic...

With both collegiate conference and the USA indoor championships just around the corner, the distance races at Friday and Saturday’s Husky Classic takes center stage.

All nine of Washington’s Division I and Ii schools will be represented at both the Husky Classic as well as Sunday’s UW Open.

World championships medalists Courtney Frerichs (above/photo by Paul Merca) Emily Infeld, and Evan Jager are the headline performers entered in the Husky Classic.

Frerichs and Infeld are both entered in the women’s 5000 meters on Friday night. Frerichs, who was second at last year’s world championships in the steeplechase, races against her Nike Bowerman TC teammate Emily Infeld, who won a bronze medal in the 10000 in Beijing, and last week won the USATF cross country title.

They’ll race at 5:10pm against a field that includes Canadian 10000m record holder Natasha Wodak, former Baylor All-American and NACAC U-23 steeple champ Rachel Johnson, Colorado’s Erin Clark, and a slew of notable collegians looking to duck under 16 minutes and possibly cement their spots in the NCAA championships next month (16:09.81 is the #16 time in NCAA D1 entering this weekend).

Adding to the intrigue of this race is the entry of 2016 Olympic triathlon champion Gwen Jorgensen, who stated a few months ago that she is transitioning to the marathon with the intent of competing for an Olympic team spot in that event.  Jorgensen is training in Portland with the Nike Bowerman TC.

The fast section of the women’s 5000 also includes former Husky Charlotte Prouse, who returns to the Dempsey after transferring to New Mexico at the end of the 2017 school year, and helped the Lobos win a national cross country title in the fall.

While the men’s 5000 on Friday doesn’t have quite the depth and intrigue of the women’s 5000, the Nike Oregon Project’s Suguru Osako, who threatened the Japanese national record but came up 63 seconds short in Fukuoka in December, when he ran 2:07:19.

He’ll go against countryman Shota Onizuka, who was on their U20 squad at the IAAF world cross country championships in China three years ago, plus a slew of collegians looking to duck under 13:50 in a meet that has traditionally produced a slew of NCAA qualifying marks, particularly in the distance races

Saturday’s highlights:

Women’s mile (3:27 pm)—The UW trio of Amy-Eloise Neale, Maddie Meyers and Anna Maxwell are the headliners, as they’ll run against 2017 Virginia Tech alum Hanna Green of the Nike Oregon TC, an NCAA scorer for the Hokies at 800m, and UW alum Eleanor Fulton; 

Mens mile (3:40 pm)—Olympic and world championships steeple medalist Evan Jager (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Nike Bowerman TC goes against teammate and two-time US Olympian Lopez Lomong, with Arizona’s Carlos Villarreal, and Oregon’s Mick Stanovsek, Sam Prakel, and Reed Brown aiming for sub-3:58 (3:59.05 is currently #16 in NCAA Division I); 

Men’s 400 (3:57 pm)—Former Washington high school stars and Oregon alums Michael Berry and Marcus Chambers go head to head, with former NCAA 400 hurdles champ Reggie Wyatt.  In a separate heat, WSU alum and 3-time NCAA champ Jeshua Anderson is scheduled to race; 

Women’s 800 (4:02 pm)—This race showcases Brooks Beasts’ Hannah Fields, Baylee Mires, and Savannah Colón, against Canadian world championships competitor and Simon Fraser alum Lindsey Butterworth, and the Huskies’ Hannah Derby; 

Men’s 800 (4:10 pm)—Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy of the Nike Oregon Project, who is rounding himself into race shape, goes against Ryan Martin, a UC Santa Barbara alum now competing for Asics Furman Elite; 

Women’s 3000 (4:20 pm)—A predominantly collegiate field with Prouse entered as she goes against former NCAA cross country champ Allie Ostrander of Boise State; 

Men’s 3000 (4:44 pm)—Washington’s Colby Gilbert and Fred Huxham go against Oklahoma State alum Craig Nowak and Japan’s Hayato Seki, with a plethora of collegiate runners looking for sub 7:55 (7:58.64 is currently #16 on the 2018 NCAA D1 list).

The best field event is the women’s pole vault at 2:00 pm, which features Pullman’s Katie Nageotte, who was second at the NYRR Millrose Games in New York and is tied for fifth on the 2018 world list with her 15-7.25 (4.76m) set at the WSU Indoor Open last month.

She’ll go against UW alum Kristina Owsinski, Cal’s Lauren Martinez, and WSU’s Molly Scharmann.

US Olympian in the decathlon Jeremy Taiwo goes in the men’s high jump at 2 pm against Canadian Olympian Mike Mason.

The men’s shot put at 3 pm features the Huskies’ Jack Lembcke against the Cal duo of McKay Johnson and Peter Simon, both of whom are ranked in the top 15 in NCAA D1.  Olympic Trials finalist David Pless of the Iron Wood TC will also make the field interesting.

Notably absent from the meet will be the Huskies’ sprinters and hurdlers, as they will compete  instead at the Don Kirby Collegiate Invitational along with the Washington State sprinters and hurdlers Friday and Saturday in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Husky Classic, the Don Kirby Collegiate Invitational, and the UW Open will be streamed live ($) by media partner Flotrack.

NOTE:  The University of Washington and the University of New Mexico sports information offices contributed to this report.

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